|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Enough is Enough
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
In a press statement issued earlier this month the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) congratulates Robert Mugabe on his 80th birthday and wishes him “all the very best in the future”. It also applauds his efforts “to tackle and remove the evil practice of corruption from our midst”. The EFZ offers its “wholesale support of this initiative” and promises its prayers for the success of the venture. Bishops Sebastian Bakare, Patrick Mutume and Trevor Manhanga of Mutare put out an Easter message in almost identical terms – though omitting the best birthday wishes!
The question is whether these clerics are not a little naïve in their fulsome support for Mugabe’s so-called anti-corruption drive. One wonders if they will not come to regret their bold and unconditional support – and that sooner rather than later.
Had they given a little more thought (and perhaps prayer?) to the matter before rushing into print, they might have asked themselves how precisely the rampant corruption that is now rife in this country first got a foothold. Is not the major source of corruption in Zimbabwe the exercise of power without restraint or accountability? And who but the ruling party – and more precisely the head of that party – is responsible for this state of affairs? Indeed who but Robert Mugabe and his partners in crime are resisting to the point of death, any attempt to restrict their powers or to make them accountable to the nation? So then who is the most corrupt of all?
Moreover how can Zimbabweans have any faith in a process initiated by those at the seat of power – a process in which they have a greater stake than anyone else and in which they have appointed themselves prosecutor, judge and jury all in one?
In an excellent article contributed to the Zimbabwe Independent the human rights’ lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa makes the telling point that many of those who have fled the country rather than submitting themselves to this country’s legal system have done so for the very good reason that they cannot expect to get a fair trial here. Not only has the independence of the judiciary been severely compromised but the administration of the system has now been brought under (unconstitutional) political control. Add in the politicisation of the police force and the Attorney-General’s office, and what hope does an innocent person have of retaining his liberty once the ruling elite have decided he should be locked up? Hence even the innocent take refuge abroad.
Can the EFZ and the Mutare Bishops really lend their whole-hearted support to such a compromised – and corrupt – system?
Even worse, the so-called anti-corruption drive has given Mugabe the opportunity to introduce an undeclared state of emergency to the country. What else do the Presidential Powers regulations achieve than the introduction of a state of emergency by stealth. And the sweeping and unrestricted powers conferred on the police to detain suspects and to deny them bail for extended – and in effect unlimited – periods rival the most draconian measures ever used by the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
These are the powers with which the state arms itself – ostensibly to go after those guilty of some form of corruption. Can the EFZ and the Mutare Bishops really applaud the taking of such sweeping (and unconstitutional) powers by any government – let alone the present regime with its appalling track record on human rights’ abuses?
Should these clerics not first ask themselves whom, in political terms, the so-called anti-corruption drive serves best? And of course the answer has to be none other than the ruling elite. They have armed themselves with awesome powers which may be used, first to deal with members of the ZANU PF establishment (like James Makamba) who have somehow fallen out with the Chief, and after that … ? Well, whomsoever they (the ruling elite) so wish. And what easier way to silence the opposition once and for all than to deploy this draconian legislation against them – which almost certainly was the original purpose anyway. Never mind that the regulations are ulra vires the constitution. There is little chance these days of getting a Supreme Court Justice to declare the regulations unconstitutional, and still less of finding a senior police officer to enforce such a ruling. Hence any troubling member of the opposition, or indeed anyone perceived to be a threat to ZANU PF interests, can be locked up for as long as the ruling elite wish – and remember, all this on the basis of suspicion only, rather than any hard evidence.
Do the EFZ and the Mutare Bishops really want to be associated with such an evil political scheme or with the witch hunt which is already under way ? Will they indeed pray for its success?
It goes without saying that every good and law-abiding citizen would like to see the corruption which has become endemic in our nation, rooted out once and for all. But before we endorse any proposed course of action to this end we had better consider very carefully both who has lead the campaign and the means to be used - or we may find ourselves supporting a so-called anti-corruption drive led by the mafia and controlled by none other than the godfather himself.
EFZ and the Mutare bishops – for God’s sake, think again !
enough is enough
they are finished